Latin Language Blog

Pokémon Ite!: 15 Pokémon with Latin-Inspired Names Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Latin Language, Uncategorized

Salvete Omnes! I hope everyone’s weekend was nice. Maybe some of you were out exploring in the tall grass and captured some MarsuMonstra!

Now, that’s not a real phrase found in Classical Latin, but you might be able to figure it out:

MarsuMonstra is a compacted invention of Marsupium Monstra

Marsupium = Pocket

Monstra = Monsters

So, you might’ve guessed from the title, our theme this week is!:


Pokémon Go in hand, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pokémon Go in hand, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


If you’re not sure where this is going, you might not have been on the internet the past few weeks because Pocket Monsters, that is, Pokémon, have taken over the world! Or, rather, they’ve taken over the attention spans of children and adults, at least of those who have a compatible smartphone, worldwide.

ANA Boeing 747-400 featuring Clefairy, Pikachu, Togepi, Mewtwo, Snorlax. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ANA Boeing 747-400 featuring Clefairy, Pikachu, Togepi, Mewtwo, Snorlax. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Pokémon has been an international sensation for the past few decades, but with the release of “Pokémon Go!” everyone’s remembering all those little creatures from the games and TV shows and movies. As a Latin-learner you might be struck, however, by some things you recognize in the names of a few of the Pokémon that you might not have caught onto when you were younger.


In fact, maybe these Pokémon can help you remember some useful vocabulary, or maybe your Latin vocabulary can help you remember these 15 Pokémon with Latin-inspired names:


Here they are, listed in order of their Pokédex numbers and with the theorized etymologies of their names. I have also included even the Latin etymology for the English words used to create these monikers!


Pokemon Logo, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pokemon Logo, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

037 Vulpix

vulpine  = “pertaining to a fox, fox-like,” from the Latin vulpinus “of or pertaining to a fox,” from vulpes, earlier volpes (genitive vulpis, volpis).

six = its number of tails

059 Arcanine

arcane = from Latin arcanus “secret, hidden, private, concealed,” from arcere “close up, enclose, contain,” from arca “chest, box, place for safe-keeping,”

canine  = from Latin caninus. Meaning “pertaining to a dog or dogs”.

143 Snorlax

snore = sound made during sleeping

lax from Latin laxus “wide, spacious, roomy,” figuratively “loose, free, wide” (also used of indulgent rule and low prices),

216 Teddiursa and  217 Ursaring

teddy = stuffed bear toy

ursa = Latin for ‘bear’ from Latin ursus “a bear,”

ring = circular band, referring to its shape

246 Larvitar

larva young feeding stage of an insect. From Latin larva (plural larvae), earlier larua “ghost, evil spirit, demon,” also “mask,” a word from Roman mythology, of unknown origin.

tar = Latin tardus “slow, sluggish; late; dull, stupid,” of unknown origin.

247 Pupitar  

pupae = immobile cocoon stage of an insect. Special use by Linnæus (1758) of Latin pupa “girl, doll, puppet” on notion of “undeveloped creature” (like “pupil”).

tar = from Latin ‘tardus’ meaning slow

364 Sealeo

seal = marine creature

leo = Latin for ‘lion’

377 Regirock

regi  = from Latin genitive regis meaning “king,”

rock = stone

389 Torterra

tortoise  = large reptile with a protective shell  from Medieval Latin tortuca (mid-13c.), perhaps from Late Latin tartaruchus “of the underworld”. Others propose a source in Latin tortus “twisted,” based on the shape of the feet. The classical Latin word was testudo, from testa “shell.”

terra = Latin for ‘earth’

404 Luxio

lux = unit of brightness from Latin lux “light”

leo = Latin for ‘lion’

512 Simisage

simian = of or relating to primates from Latin simia “ape,” from simus “snub-nosed,”

sage = a herb (referring to cooking and its Grass type)

565 Carracosta

carapace = a hard protective covering

costa = Coast; earlier “rib as a part of the body” (early 12c.),  from Latin costa “a rib,”

667 Litleo

little = small

leo = Latin for ‘lion’

716 Xerneas

X = letter; game in which Xerneas appears  

Cernunnos = Celtic god based on a deer (itself from the Latin ‘cervus’ which means deer)


The people involved in naming Pokémon for the American versions of the games have also included Greek and other languages in naming the creatures. In this way, playing Pokémon with in-depth knowledge of etymology could be quite interesting and useful for anyone learning these languages.

If you can think of any more Pokémon, or MarsuMonstra, names with Latin roots please share them below! 




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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


  1. Tom:

    Was the Pokemon Tauros derived from the Latin Taurus, bulls?